Tuesday, 23rd September 2014

International community shows grave concern over Ferguson incident


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Demonstrators protest the shooting of Michael Brown on August 22, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Crowds continue to gather to march along Florissant Road after Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th.  (AFP/Joshua Lott)

The international community has shown grave concern over the incident that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, where massive violent clashes erupted between security forces and protesters after unarmed 18-year-old black male Michael Brown was shot dead by police on Aug.9.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland expressed concern Wednesday over the use of "excessive" police force in Ferguson, the troubled suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.

"The recent violent events in Ferguson after the shooting raise concern," Jagland said. "I am particularly concerned by the reported use of excessive force by the police against peaceful protesters and their arrest, including journalists covering the events, as this undermines the full exercise of human rights, starting with the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression."

Jagland noted such rights are "cornerstones of democracy".

German newspaper Die Welt said on its website that two German correspondents covering the unrest in Ferguson were detained Monday for three hours.

Journalists of the "Washington Post" and "Huffington Post" were also affected by the repressions in Ferguson. The attacks against reporters by the local police have triggered strong criticism in Germany, it said.

Michael Konken, head of the German Federation of Journalists, said on Tuesday that security forces'actions against journalists were completely unjustifiable.

"We are deeply concerned about the arrests, which lead to the fact that journalists can no longer carry out their duties. And that (happened) in a democratic state, in which the free press has a long tradition," said Dietmar Wolff, General Manager of the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers.

German public television ARD commented in a report posted on its website on Aug. 14 that the Ferguson incident showed again that the racial segregation remains, even in the sixth year of the presidency of America's first black president. Two thirds of the residents of Ferguson are black, the security forces almost all white.

The case of Michael Brown shows racial segregation remains in the US 50 years after the Civil Rights Act against racial segregation was passed, the report said.

Professor Norbert Finzsch, who teaches Anglo-American history at the University of Cologne, said in an interview with ARD on Aug. 20 that African-Americans have got formal equality since the civil rights laws enacted in 1965.

Discrimination runs today on economic levels, which means the separate living conditions in cities and suburbs, the segregation of the black population, the poorer education conditions and lower income ratios of the African-Americans, the expert said.

In an editorial published Tuesday, France newspaper La Liberation noted that the Ferguson incident reveals the eternal ills of urban life in the United States -- a largely African-American suburb, a police-triggered incident, a suspicious death, a community riot repressed brutally by security forces, who lack of any experience for street riots.

Despite decades of struggles against racism, urban exclusion and racial discrimination are still the causes for social unrest, it said.

Egypt on Tuesday urged US authorities to exercise self-restraint in dealing with protests in Ferguson, following clashes between security forces and demonstrators over the killing of Brown.

"The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is closely following the escalation in Ferguson and calls on US authorities to deal with the protesters in line with international standards," spokesman Badr Abdel-Aati said in a statement.

Egypt is also following up reactions to the violence, including a statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who demanded self-restraint and respect for the right to free assembly and expression.

Russian newspaper Russian Gazette said on Tuesday that the Ferguson incident exposed America's social problems, most apparently its double standard for peoples of different ethnic groups.

The grave unfairness of the US society towards Africa-Americans continued, and the Ferguson incident further reflected the racial conflict, the paper said.

Felipe Freitas, an official of the Secretary of Policies Promoting Racial Equality under Brazil's president office, told Xinhua on Saturday that the Ferguson incident is not only US internal affairs, but also international affairs as it involved the problems of racism and discrimination against black people in particular.

Brazil condemns the US police's violence against the black, and calls for racial equality and fairness, said Freitas.

In an article published in Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, Thomas Adams, a lecturer in history and American studies at the US Studies Center at the University of Sydney, said the Ferguson incident exposed America's political decay.

Many in the US and across the world have weighed in on the underlying causes of the escalating violence in Ferguson, Adams wrote in the article.

Analysts have rightly pointed out the massive build-up in American police militarization, the depths of poverty, a broad culture that equates young African-American men with criminality, a failed war on drugs and the corresponding transformation of much of urban America into a police state, the article said.

The conflicts in Ferguson are symptoms of a larger problem of American racial and economic inequality. Militarized police committing a horrible injustice become the easy and immediate symbol of the multiple oppressions that characterize neighbourhoods and communities across the country, Adams wrote.

Omar Cabezas from Nicaragua's Human Rights Commission told Xinhua that the killing of civilians by American police does not make the news at all because American police often abusively killed Afro-Americans and people of other ethnic groups.

The exposure of the Ferguson incident will help everyone learn the situation of human rights in the United States, said the official.

Panama's Africa Forum coordinator Gerardo Maloney said that the Ferguson incident showed that ethnic discrimination in the US is still very grave, the phenomenon of American police's abuse of force against African-Americans remained unchanged.

Mainstream US newspapers and magazines also showed serious concern over the Ferguson incident.

In an article, entitled The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race published in its Sept. 1 issue, Time magazine said that Ferguson is not just about systemic racism - it's about class warfare and how America's poor are held back.

In an article posted on the Boston Globe website, columnist Derrick Jackson said that the Ferguson issue provides another tragic window on decades of indifference to economic disparities - and on those fatal split seconds when police see black men as violent criminals rather than citizens.

As unjustified as the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown was, and as much as it has dominated the news, white America has barely shrugged its shoulders. Evidence of that indifference came Monday when the Pew Research Center released a national survey of attitudes about Ferguson and its meaning, he wrote in the article titled "White America' s racial blinders."

In an article posted on the Washington Post website on Tuesday, Alyssa Rosenberg said everyone should have an opportunity to participate in the pursuit of the American dream. But Michael Brown's death offer important amendments to the thinking.

It so easy to exile people from the American dream, whether because their criminal records make it impossible for them to work or vote, or because people like Michael Brown are killed before they even have a chance to pursue it, the reality is a gross diminution of American ambition, said the article.

The New York Time said that the rioting in Ferguson follows more than a decade of economic stagnation and worse for many black Americans.

Inequality in America is not news, and there have been a number of studies published recently that challenge the old notion that the United States is the land of opportunity for all, but for African Americans, the findings are particularly bleak, the paper said in an article published Tuesday.

In articles concerning the Ferguson incident, The Wall Street Journal noted that Michael Brown's death should prompt blacks and whites to examine the causes of racial mistrust, and America's Fergusons need a president, and a party, obsessed with growth and messianic about giving a kid what he needs to hold the job that growth provides. BEIJING (Xinhua)


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